Review of My Free Stay at the Hyatt Zilara Cancun

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Ahoy, mateys! I have so much to tell you about – just back from a week of meetings in Austin.

I’ve been meaning to report on the Hyatt Zilara Cancun, so here goes.

I booked 3 nights with points in late January.

The flights were paid with Citi ThankYou points (which I’m always rolling in). And I charged the $55 round-trip airport transfer to my Chase Sapphire Reserve, which trigged part of the $300 annual travel credit. And because it’s an all-inclusive, food was covered (more on that in a future post!).

Hyatt Zilara Cancun from above

Hyatt Zilara Cancun from above

So flights, hotel, food, and transportation were all completely free. I did bring $100 in cash to leave as tips for the drivers, bartenders, servers, and housekeeping staff.

This trip would’ve cost north of $2,000 out of pocket.

But back to the hotel!

Hyatt Zilara Cancun Index

Arrival and check-in

The non-stop flight from Dallas was smooth as silk. Short, half full, and easy.

The immigration line was insane. But the booths were well-staffed, and the line moved fast. Took about 30 minutes.

I booked a $55 round-trip transfer to the hotel through Cancun Transfers based on the recommendation of Out and Out reader David.

The process couldn’t have been simpler. There are a lot of pre-arranged services, so when you get outside, there’s a sea of signs and colors. It’s a bit overwhelming.

But we found the guy in the white and purple vest and were quickly on our way to the Zilara. ~25 minutes later, we arrived.

When we pulled up, there was a flurry of commotion: opened doors, luggage, and instant guidance to the “Romance Concierge” to check in.

Entrance of the Hyatt Zilara Cancun

After entering the Hyatt Zilara Cancun

The desk agent told us about the restaurants and what was available on the property.

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The beautiful horse-themed lobby bar at Hyatt Zilara Cancun

It was an hour before check-in and the room wasn’t ready. But they stored our bags and let us have free reign of the bars and self-serve snacks in the lobby.

We grabbed a couple of drinks at the lobby bar. 30 minutes later, they found us, handed us our keys, and invited us to check-in.

And we got an upgrade to the 4th floor thanks to my Platinum elite status.

The room

I’ll talk more about the property after this section. :p

Hallways of the Hyatt Zilara Cancun

Hallways of the Hyatt Zilara Cancun

My room, #416

My room, #416

We were assigned to room 416, above the main atrium.

All the rooms have balconies and overlook the ocean. But some are tucked into the wings on either end. And many are above the atrium (which goes up 4 floors).

Overlooking the atrium

Overlooking the atrium

If I recall correctly, this hotel has 8 floors.

View upon walking in

View upon walking in

Our room was gorgeous! Not huge, but the way it was laid out made it feel open and airy.

Instead of an overt beach theme, the room had a neutral vibe, with dark wood accents. And I loved the sculpted stone columns.

Closer shot of the columns

Closer shot of the columns

The main room

The main room

The bed

The bed

Desk area

Desk area

Chairs, table, and TV

Chairs, table, and TV

Jacuzzi

Jacuzzi

We had a king-sized bed. And there were a couple of areas for sitting. The jacuzzi was a double-seater and took about 15 minutes to fill up. A nice, romantic touch.

We had free reign of the minibar

The minibar is all yours, too

The fridge had top shelf liquor, plenty of soft drinks, juice, and a few beers. You can take whatever’s inside and they’ll replace it each day – it’s included in the price of the room.

So is room service! They put your order into a little cubby next to the door. So it’s entirely possible to never leave the room and still eat and drink to your heart’s content.

Bathroom

Bathroom

The bathroom had an open area for the sink. And a private room with a shower, toilet, and another sink.

Shower with 2 shower heads

Shower with 2 shower heads

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KenetMD shampoo, conditioner, and soaps

Toilet, next to the shower

Toilet, next to the shower

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Lotion and soap, mouthwash, bug spray, and bottled water

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More extras than you’ll possibly need

The bathroom was incredibly well-stocked. They provide a shoe mitt, shave set, dental kit with toothpaste and a toothbrush, extra bath salt, Q-tips, and a sewing set. That’s in addition to the high-quality soaps, shampoo, and conditioner.

Robes and slippers, iron, umbrella, and safe

Robes and slippers, iron, umbrella, and safe

I should mention there was coffee too. The room is basically preset with everything you might need during your stay.

View from the window

View from the window

Overall, the room was gorgeous. There are many surfaces to sit and set things down. Outlets everywhere. And the wifi was blazing fast throughout our stay.

Toiletries, drinks, and towels were replaced every day. And I loved the mature decor. From top to bottom, the room exceeded my expectations.

View and welcome amenities

We need to talk about the view from the room.

Looking left

Looking left

Looking right

Looking right

View from the balcony

Balcony

The rooms overlook the gorgeous blue waters of the Gulf. And our balcony had a hammock for relaxing in the sea breeze. It was pretty much heaven.

Welcome amenity #1

Welcome amenity #1

At check-in, there was a bottle of merlot on the table with a corkscrew and 2 glasses. Which was awesome.

Welcome amenity #2

Welcome amenity #2

The next day, there was another bottle of wine, this time a champagne – with 3 raspberry macarons and a piece of chocolate.

Both were unexpected but (obviously) totally welcomed. This, combined with the view from the balcony, made for a warm and delicious experience. Just really, really wonderful.

Around the property

I’ll save the food and drink at the restaurants for a separate post, but wanted to touch on the activities.

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The activities schedule (click to enlarge)

There is something to do every dang day. Yoga, tastings, classes of all types, sports, bingo, you name it.

There's also parasailing, diving, and snorkeling

There’s also parasailing, diving, and snorkeling

I uh… didn’t really do anything other than eat and drink, so I can’t vouch for their quality. Although if they match the service of the other parts of the hotel, I’m sure they are professional and worthwhile.

If you forget something, or want souvenirs, there’s a small market on-site with things like medicine, sunscreen, t-shirts, tote bags, etc.

The overall property is pretty small (nothing like the behemoth that is the Atlantis resort). Basically just the restaurants, pools, and beach.

There are ATMS with US dollars and Mexican pesos

There are ATMS with US dollars and Mexican pesos

In Cancun, I tipped with US dollars. There are two ATMs: one with US dollars, and other with Mexican pesos. The servers seemed to like the US dollars, so that’s what I gave them.

I noticed many peeps celebrating special events, like a honeymoon or birthday

I noticed many peeps celebrating special events, like a honeymoon or birthday

Several doors had banners like the image above. Peeps came to the Zilara to celebrate milestones, like marriage or a birthday. I also saw couples taking their engagement photos along the beach – and what a location!

There was definitely romance in the air. And things like the double jacuzzi and cabanas for two further emphasize the “coupledom” this place inspires.

A few more things to know

It wasn’t all peachy keen in this paradise of endless booze and meals.

If you watch the video above of us popping the champagne, you’ll notice lot of background noise. If you’re in a room that overlooks the atrium, you can hear the music of the evening shows through the door. And the pools below play Top 40/pop radio pretty much all day, beginning at like 8 in the morning.

The music does stop around 10pm, but if you want to go to bed early, or sleep in, you’ll likely get a lot of interruptions. I imagine the very top floors, or the wings not overlooking the atrium, are much quieter. So if you need quiet, I’d recommend asking for one of those rooms.

This drove me damn crazy

This drove me damn crazy

Next is the mad dash to “claim a spot” at the pool. I hated this about Martinique. And I hated it here, too.

People start claiming spots at 6 or 7am. They throw a towel on a chair and leave it all day. And come back hours later, expecting it to still be available. Like, hours and hours.

This happened every day. I find it rude, personally.

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Not a problem on the sand

To mitigate this, you can simply walk down to the beach. There are rows and rows of open chairs. It’s beyond me why they don’t add more chairs around the pool.

Maybe people just don’t like the sand? But I was fine to lay out in these chairs. And definitely didn’t want to stay for hours on end.

Aside from the near-constant noise, and the dumbass pool situation, the rest of the experience was quite good.

I don’t know how near to capacity they were, but the restaurants never once felt crowded. And we always got a seat within seconds.

But if you like silence, or want a spot near the pool, the above 2 points are worth keeping in mind slash planning around.

Check out that window

Check out that window

The only other thing I found odd was the window from the bed frame that looked into the shower. You couldn’t feasibly look through it without standing on the bed. But on the other side, you can see into the room while you’re showering. It does fog up after a sec.

This feature might not be in the rooms with double beds. But if you’re traveling with a friend or family member, it could be worth asking about.

Bottom line

The hotel is everything it’s cracked up to be. And the room and grounds felt inviting and luxurious.

Part of me wondered if I’d regret using 75,000 precious Chase Ultimate Rewards points on 3 nights at the Hyatt Zilara Cancun. Especially after my sub-par experience at the Park Hyatt Paris-Vendome, which other bloggers go crazy for.

Instead, I wish I’d stayed longer. I’m also newly curious about the Hyatt Ziva Cancun, which is also an all-inclusive but not adults-only. Although I must say, I really enjoyed not having any kids around for a few days.

There’s no way I’d pay $2,000 for a short trip like this, but a combination of Chase Ultimate Rewards points and Citi ThankYou points was the magic ticket to a free trip.

The overall experience was mature, relaxing, peaceful, and drizzled with liquor and opulent meals – which I’ll cover in my next post on this hotel.

The service, starting at check-in, was top-notch and unwavering. The staff truly makes this place a special time.

Admittedly, I’m a little topical vacation-ed out for a while. But I’m interested in the other hotels in the area, and would love to return.

If you’ve stayed here, how does your experience compare? Any other tips to add? And if I left anything out, feel free to ask questions!

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About Harlan

Just a dude living in Dallas.

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Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post. The opinions of the commenters are not necessarily the opinions of this site.

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  1. Great post! I intentionally didn’t use my free nights at the Grand Hyatt Kauai bc I thought I could talk my husband into another little getaway to this property. Two nights too brief? If so I’ll just use points for another night or two. Are there any chairs around the pool or ocean that are shaded? I like to not get too much sun.

    • I’d say you need at LEAST 3 nights there. Even that wasn’t enough (for me)!

      Every chair has a built-in shade. And there are cabanas with canopies, too. You’ll have to be up early to snag one, but they’re available and it’s possible.

      Ocean is easier and has tons of shaded options. I’m like you, I just like a little sun and I’m good. But yeah, def try for 3 nights – or more if you can swing it.

      • It feels weird to book another beach trip. Just got back from 8 days in Kauai. And going on a cruise to the Bahamas in the summer. Am I really gonna book 3 beach trips in a row? Trying to get lots of use out of our SW CP though. Did book some maybe trips with the new pointbreaks list to do Boston and Newport RI to see the mansions up there.

        • I did Martinique, Hawaii, Bahamas, and Cancun all in a row lol. You should do it! But I hear ya, I am beached out.

          Good idea with the PointBreaks. I saw one in Vermont on the list and thought about snagging a few days to leaf peep this autumn. If nothing is left, I still my 7 nights at a Marriott.

          And the Boston/RI trips sound fantastic – you should do those!

    • Jelly! Stop by Dallas and bring me with! 😉

      I already want to go back – 3 days wasn’t nearly enough. Likewise, I enjoyed reading your thoughts about it, too – will be keeping up for your next round there!

  2. I wondered what was the difference between the two resorts which I would also do all-adults! I guess using the points was worth it since you got top self drinks and food!

  3. I was just in this hotel, Hyatt Zilara, with my boyfriend for his birthday and I did not enjoy my stay here. The first 2 days were okay but the rest of the stay we felt uncomfortable there. We stood there for a total of 6 days. The food did not taste good at all, and it was always cold, they had the same bagels in the buffet for 5 days and they were rock hard. We ordered room service and the food also wasn’t good, wasn’t fully cooked, and always came up cold or either stale. If you are a marijuana smoker you definitely won’t enjoy your stay here. There were many people who were smoking on their balcony and around the hotel and the staff harassed us the most. They claimed that we weren’t able to smoke on the balcony’s neither but other people were doing it and didn’t give them an issue. There was actually a staff member from this hotel that sold us marijuana on the beach and we smoked around them and they didn’t have an issue. There was a staff member named Miguel who harassed us and threatened to call the police if we didn’t stop and even toke our room # down to write us up which I didn’t understand because other tourists were smoking and it was sold to us by one of their staff members. Once we told him our room # they watched us everywhere we went in the hotel, we were literally under surveillance watch, they would always communicate on their walkie talkies about where we were around the hotel and what we were doing which was super uncomfortable and made me want to leave. Seriously we were on vacation just trying to enjoy ourselves and they were acting as if we were serious criminals. Some of their staff members that were on the beach to witness the incident approached us after and said they didn’t see the problem in us smoking because other people did it and knew we were just on vacation trying to relax and have fun. After this incident the staff in the hotel weren’t as polite was they were from once we first arrived. They asked for our room # about 10 times a day which was very annoying and I felt like my privacy was invaded. I have not ever been asked for my room # when I went on vacation to other countries and stood in other hotels. We upgraded our room to the presidential suite; when they would ask for our room # they realized the amount we paid for it and targeted us because they thought we were rich. In the hotel they have companies that schedule you for activities such as jet ski, parasailing etc.. We booked some activities with aqua world and when they asked for our room # the guy said “ooooo what a nice expensive room” and he overcharged us for the activities. The last 3 days we were there the weather was terrible. We had 3 activities left to do but we couldn’t due to the weather and when we asked aqua world for our refund for the last activities they didn’t want to give us back our full refund and were being very rude to us. Instead of giving us half of the money we paid for, they minus the activities we did full price instead of the discounted price they originally charged us and gave us back less than what we were supposed to get. Also we tried to pay with a credit card and they lied and said that it wasn’t working that we had to call our bank to let them know we were in Mexico. But when we went to other places we used the same credit card and it was fine, they just wanted us to pay cash so they can cover their act for charging us extra. When we asked why they didn’t want to give us our money back they lied and said it was “their policy”. When we asked to speak to their supervisor they gave us a # to call where they only spoke Spanish because they knew we wouldn’t understand what they were saying. I suggest if you would like to do fun activities go to the mall that is 5 minutes away, it is much cheaper and you can bargain with them to lower the prices down. For my boyfriends birthday I asked the hotel to decorate our room for my boyfriends birthday. When we walked into the room and we were shocked at how they decorated the room, it was a complete joke. They decorated the room for a 5 year old boy and the hotel is originally an adult only hotel. The had a small cupcake on a plate that wrote happy birthday and stuck 5 balloons on the wall with tape. They only “decorated” the kitchen with 3-4 streamers on the table. I was very displeased especially when we spent so much money to book this hotel and that’s how they decorated the kitchen, they didn’t even decorate the bedroom or put rose petals or the candles I bought that I asked for them to do. I left a bottle of rose champagne open, the next day I come back to my room after breakfast and I grab the champagne bottle to drink from and what do I see? White residue around the opening of the bottle and inside of it. I don’t know who or why but they put something in the champagne bottle. After this we felt very unsafe and were anxious to go home. When we approached the manager with all of these complaints his response was “we have been very patient with you guys for smoking and we didn’t charge you the $250 fee”. When we asked what was the white residue on the bottle he responded it was probably from the air conditioning which didn’t make any sense because then the cups and sodas would have had the same residue. He basically didn’t care about our concerns and claimed none of his workers would do anything. We had a privacy card on our door everyday, we didn’t want anyone to enter the room to clean because we had very expensive clothes and items. I’ve had an experience of having my personal items being stolen for my hotel room so we just did not want nobody in it. Even with the privacy card in our room they would still come in our room, put drinks in our fridge and we would know if someone entered because of a smell they would leave after entering. During our stay there was construction going on that they didn’t warn us about before we booked the hotel or even when we were there. All you heard early in the morning and late at night was banging noises that were very loud. For a day they stopped our water and didn’t warn us about it and when they fixed their plumbing issue we turned on the water the next day and the color of the water was dirty. Overall I will not return back to Mexico on vacation even to a different hotel. They made my first experience there and my boyfriend’s birthday unenjoyable and very uncomfortable. They really just try to get over tourists and their money. I definitely would not give this hotel 5 stars, probably a 1.

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